Derry blanks New Brighton to win first baseball playoff game in 17 years

Thursday, May 20, 2021 | 9:44 PM

Derry ended a 17-year drought Thursday in the opening round of the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs.

And the No. 5 Trojans did it impressively by posting a dominant 10-0 victory over No. 12 New Brighton.

Derry (12-4) jumped on the young Lions for five runs in the first inning, kept up the pressure and ended the game in the fifth inning with the mercy rule.

The Trojans will now face No. 4 McGuffey, which defeated South Allegheny, at 5 p.m. Saturday at West Mifflin. It was also coach John Flickinger’s first playoff victory.

The last time Derry won a playoff game was against Burrell, 5-0, in 2004.

Derry was relentless, pounding out 12 hits and taking advantage of three errors by New Brighton (8-11).

Ryan Bushey set the tone for Derry by reaching on a single in the first inning. He swiped second and scored on Josh Ulery’s single. Brayden Mickinac, who walked, scored on Sam Jones’ single, and Ulery made it 3-0 on a throwing error.

Hood scored on Elijah Penich’s hit and Penich scored on a wild pitch, which chased starting pitcher Bobby Budacki.

“Our plan was to put pressure on them,” Flickinger said. “We didn’t know much about them except they had a good sophomore pitcher. Us getting to him early kind of rattled him.”

The lead also took pressure off starting pitcher Paul Koontz, who allowed three hits and no walks while striking out five.

“It’s a lot easier to pitch with confidence with any sort of lead,” Koontz said. “It’s a huge win. We’re making history every time we play.”

And Derry is having a lot of fun. Flickinger said they practiced for more than three hours earlier this week and didn’t care.

“We don’t have to do much to motivate these guys,” Flickinger said. “I’ve been coaching for a lot of years, and this is a special group. They come ready to play.”

Derry tacked on a single tally in the second inning when Bushey tripled and scored on Ulery’s ground out. The Trojans made it 7-0 in the third inning on Jones’ inside-the-park home run.

Ryan Hood singled home a run in the fourth inning, and Matt McDowell ended the game with two-run hit in the fifth.

“They are a disciplined team at the plate,” New Brighton coach Mike Kirschner said. “They know what to do at the plate. That’s a good outfit.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at or via Twitter .

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